voices from the past


Dot and the Kangaroo

by Ethel C. Pedley (1860 - 1898)

. . . the story continues . . .

"Well, bring the little Human here," said the Platypus in a more friendly tone, "and if I feel quite sure on that point I will permit an interview."

Two bounds brought the Kangaroo to where Dot was hidden. She seemed anxious that the child should make a good impression on the Platypus, and tried with the long claws on her little black hands to comb through Dot's long gleaming curls; but they were so tangled that the child called out at this awkward method of hairdressing, and the Kangaroo stopped. She then licked a black smudge off Dot's forehead, which was all she could to tidy her. Then she started back with a hop, and eyed the child with her head on one side. She was not quite satisfied. "Ah!" she said, "if only you were a baby Kangaroo I could make you look so nice! But I can't do anything to your sham coat, which gets worse every day, and your fur is all wrong, for one can't get one's claws through it. You Humans are no good in the bush!"

"Never mind, dear Kangaroo," said the little girl; "when I get home mother will put me on a new frock, and will get the tangles out of my hair. Let us go to the Platypus now."

The Kangaroo felt sad as Dot spoke of returning home, for she had become really fond of the little Human. She began to feel that she would be lonely when they parted. However, she did not speak of what was in her mind, but bounded back to the Platypus to wait for Dot.

When the little girl reached the pool, she was still more surprised, on a nearer view of the Platypus, that the Kangaroo should think so much of it. At her feet she beheld a creature like a shapeless bit of wet matted fur. She thought it looked like an empty fur bag that had been fished out of the water. Projecting from the head, that seemed much nearer to the ground than the back, was a broad duck's bill, of a dirty grey colour; and peeping out underneath were two fore feet that were like a duck's also. Altogether it was such a funny object that she was inclined to laugh, only the Kangaroo looked so serious, that she tried to look serious too, as if there was nothing strange in the appearance of the Platypus.

"I am the Ornithorhynchus Paradoxus!" said the Platypus pompously.

"I am Dot," said the little girl.

"Now we know one another's names," said the Platypus, with satisfaction. "If the Kangaroo had introduced us, it would have stumbled over my name, and mumbled yours, and we should have been none the wiser. Now tell me, little Human, are you going to write a book about me? Because, if you are, I'm off. I can't stand any more books being written about me; I've been annoyed enough that way."

"I couldn't write a book," said Dot, with surprise inwardly wondering what anyone could find to make a book of, out of such a small, ugly creature.

"You're quite sure?" asked the Platypus, doubtfully, and evidently more than half inclined to dive into the pool.

"Quite," said Dot.

Chapter 4 pages:   one   two   three   four   five   six   seven   eight
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